Wednesday, April 06, 2005

It's been a very long time...

... since I have been here. This winter has not been my best - since mid-January I have had, in turn, the flu, pneumonia, bronchitis and pneumonia yet again. Needless to say I am keeping my fingers crossed that it is over! And to think I complained last spring when I had three colds in three months' time!

Anyway, it has certainly kept me from posting here, as I was either feeling like boiled hell, or recovered and trying to get caught up with normal life. I do have some FOs to post pictures of and talk about, and a couple of great classes I have taken in the meantime.

During the first bout of pneumonia I was too sick even to knit for about two weeks. I think I was started on the second bear for my niece's girls before that hit, and in the end had to frog what I had done already, as the gauge on the second body piece I finshed post-P was much smaller than the piece I worked on before I was sick. I am still working on the thing, and I am sorry to have to say I have lost my love of the project. Her head and body are knitted, sewn together, stuffed and assembled, with the face embroidered on. Now I am working on getting the arms done, and still have the legs to do yet. My problem is that it is made with cotton yarn because I wanted it to be washable, and the lack of elasticity in cotton as you are working the stitches has really started bothering my hands, I find my wrists and fingers start to ache so, that I find I am able to work on it only for a half hour at a time. So it progresses, but rather slowly. I find that doing the occasional small project in between is going to help keep my sanity til the thing is done and on its way to its new home.

For example, I ordered all the colors that the Knitpicks Wool of the Andes comes in, and have been working on mittens for Xmas gifts. The first pair is finished, and there are three pair to go. I have really enjoyed working with the yarn, it reminds me alot of Cascade 220, and half the price. It was a little slow going at first, the mitten pattern I am using comes from the book 'Knit Mittens" (in fact, in the Knitpicks catalogue, that is how they showed the yarns off, by knitting each of the mittens in a different 6 color grouping from their line in this pattern), and they are a stranded pattern. Just a few days before I watched the short video on the Philospher's Wool website of an much better way of doing this and weaving in your yarn colors than I had used previously, but it did take me a few color changes to get the hang of their technique. The lovely thing about it is that you don't have ends to weave in when you are finished. But the second mitten just whizzed by, it was so much easier. I also altered the pattern by ribbing the cuff, still keeping the vertical stripes by K2 in one color, P2 in another as I went.

I also picked up a book called 'Simple Crochet' from work. It has been years since I have done any crochet, but it is like riding a bicycle, it just comes back so easily. And this book is the first I have seen in many years where the patterns don't look like something published in Family Circle in the 70s. The patterns in the book are all what I call 'homey' things - afghans, pillows, boxes, and also a wonderful looking pair of slippers made with cotton. So they are also finished for a gift, and I think I may have to try my hand later at some of the box patterns in there.

In the most recent Eddie Bauer catalogue they show three different crocheted cardigan patterns done up in cotton, and they cost a fortune. Heck, I can make those with one hand tied behind my back and blindfolded. So I got a pattern called 'Lacy Fans' off the internet, and that is on my to-do list for this summer. I liked the ones in the catalogue, they were just so feminine looking without being frilly. And of course I used to have a couple of cardigans like that about 8 or 9 years ago, and here they are back in fashion. You never win.

So right now I am working on finishing the dreaded bear, and decided to freestyle crochet her dress, the pattern called for knitting one with mouse needles and spiderweb yarn, and I would have been far older and grayer when it is done, so I said the hell with it and am crocheting the dress instead in cotton, it will go much faster. And a few rows at a time on the last bit for the arms. I should have those done, stuffed and attached in about a week at most.

And today I started making my felted purse for spring. I couldn't find a pattern that was exactly what I wanted, so I am winging it. Making good progress, so in a few days I should have news to report of that.

I still have to block the mittens, the slippers, a swatch from the most recent class I've taken, and the other half of the koigu/kidsilk summer scarf I have done. After that I will take some pictures and include them here.


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